George Rucker's Newsletter for November 29, 2016

Here we are at the last Tuesday of November,

The best thing about the end of November besides Thanksgiving is soon the days will start to get longer.  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  Patty and I did at our daughter Kate and Dave’s house in Sandwich.   It is truly one of the better holidays of the year.

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The other day the Vice President elect went to a New York play.  I do not agree with the cast giving him a lecture about their beliefs, be they right or wrong.  The stage is not a podium of discourse, especially at roughly $1000.00 a seat.  So from me “Shut up and sing,” or as a retort from my favorite coach, Bill Belichick, “Do your job.”

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Coming back from the store the other day I could see a turkey near the road.  I found it funny that it was only one.  I usually see two or three young males which probably have been kicked out of a flock by the dominate male, or 30 to 50 if it is the flock.  Looking closer it seemed a little smaller than normal.  It was an actual bird called a turkey buzzard.  It is the namesake of the south side of Cape Cod or Buzzards Bay.  No feathers on the head and neck which makes them look rather creepy.  My friend Ann would let me know what certain sightings of animals mean. I think she uses a Native American handbook to do so.  I have not seen a turkey buzzard for a few years.

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Just learned that in England ''Hawks'' were referred to as Buzzards. Makes since that with all the ''Ospreys'' in Buzzards Bay, early settlers considered them hawks. thuslly...Buzzards Bay. Make sense?  Hawks were Ospreys or fish hawks

Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors. The awards were presented at the White House on November 22nd.  Last week’s letter only had room for three.

This event was streamed live at: www.whitehouse.gov/live.

Robert De Niro has brought to life some of the most memorable roles in American film during a career that spans five decades. His first major film roles were in the sports drama Bang the Drum Slowly and Martin Scorsese's crime film Mean Streets.  He is a seven-time Academy Award nominee and two-time Oscar winner, and is also a Kennedy Center honoree. ...  I do not feel this is worth the honor.

Bill and Melinda Gates established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, the foundation focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, the mission is to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. The Gates Foundation has provided more than $36 billion in grants since its inception. ... This might be worth the medal.

Frank Gehry is one of the world’s leading architects, whose works have helped define contemporary architecture. His best-known buildings include the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Dancing House in Prague, and the Guggenheim Museum building in Bilbao, Spain. . . . Again, just doing his job.

Margaret H. Hamilton led the team that created the on-board flight software for NASA's Apollo command modules and lunar modules. A mathematician and computer scientist who started her own software company, Hamilton contributed to concepts of asynchronous software, priority scheduling and priority displays, and human-in-the-loop decision capability, which set the foundation for modern, ultra-reliable software design and engineering. . . . This is a good choice for the award

Tom Hanks is one of the Nation’s finest actors and filmmakers. He has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role five times, and received the award for his work in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump.  Those roles and countless others, including in Apollo 13, Saving Private Ryan, and Cast Away, have left an indelible mark on American film. Off screen, as an advocate, Hanks has advocated for social and environmental justice, and for our veterans and their families. . . .  This is a reasonably good choice for the award.

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, known as “Amazing Grace” and “the first lady of software,” was at the forefront of computers and programming development from the 1940s through the 1980s. Hopper’s work helped make coding languages more practical and accessible, and she created the first compiler, which translates source code from one language into another.  She taught mathematics as an associate professor at Vassar College before joining the United States Naval Reserve as a lieutenant (junior grade) during World War II, where she became one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer and began her lifelong leadership role in the field of computer science.
. . .  A scientist and Rear Admiral, this woman lead an exemplary life and only the second to have a naval ship named after her (DDG-70) I agree with the award.

Michael Jordan is one of the greatest athletes of all time. Jordan played 15 seasons in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards; he is currently a principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets.  During his career, he won six championships, five Most Valuable Player awards, and appeared in 14 All-Star games.
. . . Sorry, he was just doing the job he was gifted with.

Maya Lin is an artist and designer who is known for her work in sculpture and landscape art. She designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. and since then has pursued a celebrated career in both art and architecture.  A committed environmentalist, Lin is currently working on a multi-sited artwork/memorial, What is Missing? bringing awareness to the planet's loss of habitat and biodiversity. . . .  She is a good choice if only for the design of the Viet Nam war memorial.

Lorne Michaels is a producer and screenwriter, best known for creating and producing Saturday Night Live, which has run continuously for more than 40 years. In addition, Michaels has also produced The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and 30 Rock, among other popular, award-winning shows. He has won 13 Emmy Awards over the course of his lengthy career. . . .  Sorry received his awards already.

Newt Minow is an attorney with a long and distinguished career in public life. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Minow served as a Supreme Court clerk and counsel to the Governor of Illinois. In 1961, President Kennedy selected Minow, then 34, to serve as Chairman of the Federal Communications Committee (FCC), where he helped shape the future of American television and was a vigorous advocate for broadcasting that promoted the public interest. In the five decades since leaving the FCC, Minow has maintained a prominent private law practice while devoting himself to numerous public and charitable causes.   . . . Sorry just doing his job.

Eduardo Padrón is the President of Miami Dade College (MDC), one of the largest institutions of higher education in the United States. During his more than four decade career, President Padrón has been a national voice for access and inclusion. He has worked to ensure all students have access to high quality, affordable education. He has championed innovative teaching and learning strategies making MDC a national model of excellence. . . . Another sorry here but not high enough for my standards.

Robert Redford is an actor, director, producer, businessman, and environmentalist. In 1981, he founded the Sundance Institute to advance the work of independent filmmakers and storytellers throughout the world, including through its annual Sundance Film Festival. He has received an Academy Award for Best Director and for Lifetime Achievement.  Redford has directed or starred in numerous motion pictures, including The Candidate, All the President's Men, Quiz Show, and A River Runs Through It. ...Once more, just one of those just doing their job candidates

Diana Ross has had an iconic career spanning more than 50 years within the entertainment industry in music, film, television, theater, and fashion. Diana Ross is an Academy Award nominee, inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and recipient of the Grammy Awards highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award. Ross was a recipient of the 2007 Kennedy Center Honors.  Diana Ross’s greatest legacy is her five wonderful children. . . . Again, just doing their job and received many other awards along the way.

Vin Scully is a broadcaster who, for 67 seasons, was the voice of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers.  In Southern California, where generations of fans have grown up listening to Dodger baseball, Scully's voice is known as the "soundtrack to summer."  In 1988, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Scully's signature voice brought to life key moments in baseball history, including perfect games by Sandy Koufax and Don Larsen, Kirk Gibson's home run in the 1988 World Series, and Hank Aaron's record-breaking 715th home run. . . . Sorry once again.

Bruce Springsteen is a singer, songwriter, and bandleader.  More than five decades ago, he bought a guitar and learned how to make it talk.  Since then, the stories he has told, in lyrics and epic live concert performances, have helped shape American music and have challenged us to realize the American dream.  Springsteen is a Kennedy Center honoree and he and the E Street Band he leads have each been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. . . . Sorry once again.

Cicely Tyson has performed on the stage, on television, and on the silver screen.  She has won two Emmy Awards and a Tony Award, and is known for her performances in Sounder, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, and The Help.  In 2013, she returned to the stage with The Trip to the Bountiful, and was awarded the Tony Award for best leading actress.  Tyson received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2015. . . . Sorry but again a talented person just doing their job.

Perhaps I just put too much of my “Medal of Honor” knowledge into this “Medal of Freedom” thing.  I have had two favorite Medal of Honor winners in my life but those are a story for another day.  I could write a complete letter on the subject and I also know that those getting the award fit the requirements of the award just not what I feel the award should mean.

Patty watched the entire award ceremony and feels all recipients were totally deserving of the award that they received.  She was also glad she watched the entire show.

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In the early part of my life I read some books for enjoyment, these were mostly adventure, science fiction and fiction in general.  During much of my adult life I did not read for enjoyment but read to learn different things.  Then with CD’s I found I could listen and drive so in a way I would read for enjoyment once again but only while driving.

I am happy to say that one of my all time favorite characters is now on a television series with the USA network.   I have listened to every story written about Bob Lee "the Nailer" Swagger, who is a fictional character created by Stephen Hunter. He is the protagonist of a series of books that relate his life during and after the Vietnam War—Point of Impact, Black Light, Time to Hunt, The 47th Samurai, Night of Thunder, I, Sniper, Dead Zero, and, most recently, The Third Bullet. He is also the protagonist of the film Shooter. Swagger is loosely based on USMC Scout Sniper Carlos Hathcock.

A funny thing about this character is, he is so well developed I would know his father, himself a Metal of Honor winner, his mother, wife, children and many of his friends.  Some of the books are about them with Bob Lee as a subordinate character.  The books written above are just those with Bob Lee as the main character.

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Time for another portion of my letter the great inventions of mankind.  I used to think the couple who lived across the street had pretty much seen everything during their lives.  Both were born in the 1800s, when most roads were just dirt or gravel.  Horse carriages and the rail roads were the main mode of transportation.  They were probably 50 years older than I.  We talked to each other during the mid 60s about the Russians launching the first satellite, Sputnik.  This satellite did nothing but ping so it could be tracked while in orbit.  I  just returned from my first tour in Viet Nam and in my mid 20s of my life.  At the time I thought they had seen so many changes during their lives than I would ever see in mine.  It was not true.  I also think the children of today will also think and say the same about me and our generation.

My first experience with this weeks invention was a total Navy failure.  It was aboard the USS Brough, DE-148, and using the aft 01 deck, we had cleared everything for approximately a 22' x 22' area, then while in the port of Key West and using a crane put a small unmanned helicopter onto that cleared spot.  The small helicopter was about 15 feet long and was  radio controlled.   We were to take some engineer developers out to sea and they were to use the remote control for a take off and landing on the same small spot.  It failed and crashed into the ocean not even 50 feet from the ship.  They recalibrated the controls, loaded another helicopter in Key West and the next day failed once again.  We tried once more for a total of three times before they gave up leaving all three helicopters in Davie Jones Locker.  I am not sure how deep the water was but we were probably five miles away from the island, my guess would be about 300 feet or more.  This had to have been a precursor to today’s drones.  I was 19 or 20 years old and the year was 1960 or 61.

All kinds of drones are available today, pretty much every shape and size depending on the type of work for which they are intended.  Some drones built to resemble dragonflies or birds could be used for eavesdropping .  Larger unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are used to drop bombs or conduct surveillance.

The one thing all have in common is they are piloted by remote control and some might have a preprogrammed flight path.  Drones are primarily used by the military for surveillance or equipped with missiles for precision strikes.  However, as drone technology progresses, the list of commercial applications is growing.

This past Thanksgiving morning on the morning news they were reporting on a new drone named the Predator.  It shares the same name with military drone but is much smaller.  It reminded me of watching a falcon strike small prey with a swift and precise strike.  It will have the purpose of destroying drones which are becoming a problem around airports with their potential capability to destroy bigger aircraft.  The predator would quickly drop a net over the top of the intruding drone and the net would take it to the ground.  It could all be done using radar and computer guidance, 24/7 around American airports.

Drone research began as early as World War I and continued through World War II, but the programs had little success.  The allure and practicality were obvious – fewer pilot casualties – but the failure rates left much of the research on the drawing board for years.

Surveillance drones became popular in the 1960s when intelligence-gathering agencies relied on simple mechanisms equipped with cameras.  In the 1990s arming drones became a priority for the military once again.  Today, a pilot can be safely ensconced in a building in one country while directing a drone to survey an area in another country or to launch a strike on a particular region or even an individual.

Drones are made of lightweight materials that can withstand high altitudes but are still strong enough to carry a payload of missiles or imaging systems or perhaps, in the future even personal packages.  Most drones are equipped with cameras, GPS and sensor systems.

Today, simple drones can be made by hobbyist with kits.  While little regulation currently exists regarding the civilian use of drones, as new purposes arise for them, so does the controversy over privacy issues and legislation that governs their usage.  Especially as drone technology grows more compact and even camouflaged, some are concerned about surveillance becoming even more of a part of modern life.

The nonmilitary uses for drones have expanded to include forest fire detection, conservation, local law enforcement, film making, mapping, traffic control and scientific research.  Some people foresee the role of drones in disaster relief and construction, too.

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Want to see an exciting thing.  This has been around before, but still adventurous to watch.  A sky diver without a parachute.

http://surprise.ly/v/?PK0Hl0kWELE:0:0:0:100

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I have not done much cooking with my kitchen still in disarray.  I am hoping that this part of my life will soon be back in order.  I am going to put a recipe down today that I have not tried but plan to try.  I happen to like mac and cheese.  It is on the menu of many restaurants but usually with a little more flair, say lobster mac and cheese.  These are all good and I have been happy with most variations.

 Memphis-Style Chicken Mac ’n Cheese

A classic creamy mac ’n cheese dish from Julie Wampler of Table For Two that’s amped up with flavor from incorporating Memphis-style chicken throughout!

What You Need

For the Memphis-style rub:

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the rest of the dish:

1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 ½ cups cavatappi pasta, or similar shape such as rotini pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup chicken broth
1 heaping cup extra sharp cheddar cheese
1 heaping cup intense white cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon salt and pepper
Reynolds Wrap® Non-Stick Aluminum Foil

Make It

    1. Whisk all the ingredients for the Memphis-style rub in a small bowl and set aside.

    2. Preheat grill to medium-high.

    3. Place 2 to 3 chicken thighs on a large 18"x12" piece of Reynolds Wrap® Non-Stick Foil. Generously sprinkle Memphis-style rub on all sides of the chicken, gently pressing it down.

    4. Wrap up the chicken thighs in the foil and repeat with the remaining chicken thighs.

    5. Place foil-wrapped chicken thighs onto the grill.

    6. Cover the grill and grill the chicken thighs for 15 to 20 minutes (longer or shorter depending on thickness of chicken) or until tender and juices run clear or meat thermometer reads 180 degrees F. After the chicken is cooked through, carefully place the foil packet on a large plate. Carefully open foil with a pair of tongs and then, if desired, place chicken thighs directly onto grill to get nice grill marks and some char. Afterward, let chicken thighs rest for 15 to 20 minutes or until cool enough to handle.

    7. Chop chicken into pieces.

    8. Boil a pot of water, and add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes depending on the pasta shape you use. Drain.

    9. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour and chicken broth. Let thicken for 3 to 5 minutes.

    10. Add cheeses to the skillet and stir with a spatula until melted and smooth.

    11. Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to incorporate.

    12. Add the chicken pieces to the mac ’n cheese and stir to incorporate.

    13. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    14. Serve and enjoy!              Serves four

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I was told that the Oregon ducks won last weekend.  These are not duck jokes but how ducks managed to get into our vocabulary.

Goose bumps

What's good for the goose is good for the gander

DUCK!!!! (lower your head)

Silly goose

Like a sitting duck

Waddle like a duck

Lucky duck!

A quack (bad doctor)

Get your ducks in a row

Goosed (pecked in the rear)

Don't get your feathers ruffled (any bird)

Let it roll like water on a duck's back

The goose that laid the golden egg

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck

Like a duck out of water

Like a duck takes to water

Loose as a goose

Wild goose chase

His goose was cooked

Bottoms up!

Just Ducky

Take a gander--to have a look at something

Going quackers

Feather your nest

Quackerjacks

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Finished once again.  See you next week except for those I exercise with as I will see you this morning.

George

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